The two centrioles that are localized close to each other and to the nucleus in single Madin-Darby Canine kidney cells (MDCK) move apart by distances as large as 13 microns after the establishment of extensive cellular junctions. Microfilaments, and possibly microtubules appear to be responsible for this separation. In fully polarized cells, the centrioles are localized just beneath the apical membrane. After disruption of intercellular junctions in low calcium medium, the centrioles move back towards the cell center. This process requires intact microtubules but happens even in the absence of microfilaments. These results indicate that the position of centrioles is determined by opposing forces produced by microtubules and microfilaments and suggest that the balance between these forces is modulated by the assembly of cellular junctions. Centriole separation appears to be an early event in the process that precedes their final positioning in the apical-most region of the polarized cell.

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